DVD Review: At home with the Georgians
At Home with the Georgians (link)
This is the era of Jane Austen and her wonderful characters of Lizzie and Mr Darcy. How did they REALLY live. To find out, watch this BBC TV series. The narrator, Professor Amanda Vickery, is so interesting to listen to as she wanders through homes, grand and not so grand, sharing the everyday lives of the Georgians through their homes, their paintings and most importantly, their letters and diaries.
Episode 1: In search for a capable and intelligent wife and once found, setting up a home but what happens to those men and women who never marry (women in particular pay a heavy price)
Episode 2: A woman's touch - making the house a home and why this was so important (You Tube link). How to decorate your home that shows your neighbours that you have "good taste". The importance of the "catalogue" in shopping for furniture - as in the very innovative Chippendale furniture catalogue. All about wallpaper and why Georgian wives didn't let their husband select the paper! And more . . .
Episode 3: Safety at home - the need to secure your home, where women hid their secret belongs.
Episode 4: No place to call home - what happened to the poor who had no place of their own.
I learnt so many things from this DVD . . . here is one thing I found very interesting. . . In many period films, the ladies often had a bureau/writing desk with secret compartments, whilst the poorer women had the “box” (below). I didn't really understand the significances of these items until I watched this documentary. These special places allowed women to hide away their private papers and anything precious that they owned that they didn’t want the servants or anyone else to see. The secret compartments were for hiding the most secret of items eg those love letters! For servant girls/women, the box was even more precious as they didn't have a house of their own (and had little or no privacy) and their box became their only secure (lockable) place for their secrets.
Do you remember the nursery rhyme "Lucy locket lost her pocket" - below is a pocket - they were worn under the dress, close to the body and held the ladies "valuables". They could be accessed through a slit in the dress.
I love history, in particular the history of the home and the role women have played. This DVD certainly does that. Well worth watching.